Both of George Mason High School’s cross country teams made statements at the Bull Run district championship meet in Rappahannock County last Wednesday.
The girls team edged out district rival Clarke County High School to capture their first-ever Bull Run title, while the boys placed second, only behind the fore mentioned Clarke.
Both teams finished in the top two of the district, allowing them to advance to the regional finals which took place this Wednesday at Panorama Farms, but results were too late for press time. The teams would have to finish fourth or higher at regionals in order to move on to the state finals the following week.
Clarke County continued their dominance at states in the boys division, coming within two points of a sweep. The point system in high school cross country is similar to that of golf where the lowest point total wins; first place receives one point, second receives two, and so on. As a team, Clarke’s score totaled just 17 while Mason was a comfortable second with 62. Behind Mason was Madison County High School with 76.
The girls meet was much closer as George Mason and Clarke battled for the title. Led by freshmen Eva Estrada and Natalie Young, the Mason girls came out on top with a combined score of 39. Clarke was two points behind with 41 while Madison and the rest of the district were no less than 46 behind each.
Head Coach Julie Bravin expressed humble confidence in both groups, noting that she likes her team’s chances to make the cut for states.
“Anything can happen, but the boys’ best competition at regionals will be Alta Vista and you have to throw Goochland in there too,” said Bravin, under the assumption that Clarke would once again finish at the top.
Clarke took five of the six top spots at the district meet, and was the heavy favorite by all of those heading into the regional meet.
The girls also approached the regional meet with expectations of a top-four finish. After establishing themselves as the top team in the Bull Run, they went into Panorama anticipating a state meet berth.
“We hope for the best and we are going to run hard and work together to achieve our goals,” said a modest Courtney Ready, a junior.
In addition to team success, six runners earned individual all-district honors. Freshmen Natalie Young and Eva Estrada were among the first team all-Bull Run winners while Ready, Mollie Breen, Brandy Arredondo and Abbey Perez took second-team honors. Another noteworthy performance was that of junior Karen Hamill, who placed 17th, just 16 seconds away from making the cut for second-team all-district.
On the boys side, sophomore Jordan Robarge was the only Mason runner to capture first-team honors, while Miles Butler also a junior, Matt Baker and junior Teddy Rueckert were among the second-team winners.